Get to know your Coworkers: Unconventional Office Outings

When you’re having a busy, stressful week at work, there is nothing worse than coworkers who are just as stressed. There’s an aura of tension floating through the air to the point of exasperation. Maybe it’s because Spring Fever was setting in, but recently this feeling was becoming more and more frequent for me. My friends got pretty sick of me complaining about my stress headaches…

As a junior staffer, I’m always hesitant to corral my coworkers to take a break from work. I’m supposed to be working just as hard, if not harder than the people above me, so suggesting a break for a beer seems a little out of place. But we recently hit the point where something had to give; one day we all decided that we needed to do more things together outside of the work setting. And it’s certainly helped to ease the tension when we are in the office.

You see your coworkers more than anyone else in your life; it helps if you know a little more about them than what type of coffee they drink. Sometimes it helps to be a little unconventional when getting to know each other, because happy hour at the same bar across the street can become pretty boring.

If you ever find yourself in a similar rut, here are a few suggestions for meeting outside of the office:

  • Eat lunch together, away from your desk. It’s something simple, but it’s crazy how much more productive you can be if you take a 30 minute break during the day. Eating with a few coworkers and talking about non-work related things is refreshing.
  • Attend a sporting event together. I recently went to an NBA game with a few people from my office. We had a great time eating hot dogs while not watching the game.
  • Engage in a little friendly competition. Meet for happy hour at a bar with bean bag toss or shuffle board. Adding a little competition to the mix almost instantly brings people out of their shells.
  • Go to a karaoke bar after work. Even if you’re like me and can’t sing to save your life, it’s a light-hearted setting and you can learn a lot about people by the songs they choose to sing. You’ll be shocked at who shares your love for Backstreet Boys’ I Want it that Way.

You may find some of these ideas silly, dumb, or too immature, but you should still consider doing them – I swear you’ll have fun. Plus, you don’t want to be a Negative Nancy… every office has one!

I think it’s easier to be yourself and, in my case, crack lame jokes when you’re not sitting in a drabby cubicle with no window to the outside world. Let your hair down a little when getting to know your coworkers (but not too much), and hopefully your stress level at work will decrease while your productivity level increases.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any office-outing ideas to add to the list? 

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Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.